Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days by Holley Gerth - REVIEWED

About the Book:
We all have days that make us want to pull the covers back over our heads and eat a dozen cupcakes. 

Thankfully, Jesus said we don't "live on bread alone"--that includes cupcakes--"but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What we really need is truth.

If you're tired, discouraged, or feel a little empty inside, my prayer is that by the end of our time together, you'll be refreshed and nourished in a way that will sustain you through whatever the future may hold. 

Remember, you're not alone, my friend. 

In this uplifting book, Holley Gerth invites you to be filled with the strength, peace, and joy that come from God's promises. Each of the 52 devotions based on the Psalms will help you remember that God is good and we're all in this together. 

My Thoughts:
We will go through difficulties in this life.  We will face challenges.  We will have questions that don’t get answered until heaven.  But we can know that even in all that, God wants us to thrive.”   (p.64)

Holly Gerth has been blessed with the gift of encouragement like none other!  I think what I enjoy about her writing is that she acknowledges the truth that “….in this world you will have trouble.”  (John 16:33)  But she ALWAYS sees her readers through to the promise that accompanies this truth!  “….but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  Holly has done an outstanding job of ushering readers to the truth of God’s Word, and she does it with an humble spirit that brings healing and hope no matter how dark the trouble!

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days is a devotional/journal book that is formatted in such a way that your heart received bite-sized pieces of information that contain transformation truth that your heart will readily receive.  If you take the time to respond to the prayer-statements at the end of each chapter – and, more importantly, listen to what God is speaking through His Word – you heart will have what it needs to survive and thrive through Hard Days!

For me, personally, this book has come into my hands and heart just days prior to what WOULD have been my 25th wedding anniversary.  Instead, I will be attending a financial small group in an effort to recover from the financial devastation of divorce.  Hard days.  But God is calling me to steward my money in a right way, get out from the debt that smothers me, and move forward in the Peace of HIS promises.  This book has been a personal love note from the Father to me, and I am certain countless others will receive comfort as well.  Thanks Holly for using your writing gift and the gift of encouragement to lift others to the Father!

About the Author:
Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already AmazingYou're Made for a God-Sized DreamOpening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream, and You're Going to Be Okay. She's also cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South. Learn more at www.holleygerth.com.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (August 27, 2014) –  As part of its continuing efforts to promote literacy and in order to provide books to those children in America most in need, Walden Media and the Weinstein Company (TWC) have partnered with the National Education Association’s Read Across America to launch the “Ticket to a Better World” initiative.  Fifty cents of each The Giver movie ticket sold during Labor Day Weekend will be donated to the Ticket to a Better World initiative to raise up to a quarter of a million dollars to buy books for those children most in need.

Walden Executive Francis X. “Chip” Flaherty stated, “The Giver affirms our belief that individuals must have the freedom to pursue and fulfill their dreams.  That freedom is precisely the gift that reading and literacy provide.  Every time you put a book in the hands of a child, you unleash the power of imagination and hope that can change the world.  We are honored to partner with Read Across America to launch the ‘Ticket to a Better World’ campaign and get books into the hands of kids who need them the most.”

“Books open the floodgates to understanding and to learning,” says Anita Merina, national coordinator of NEA’s Read Across America. “This generous initiative will help us bring books like The Giver, onto the shelves and into the lives of so many children. At a time when access to books is so critical in the learning life of a child, this initiative is very exciting indeed."

Commented TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, “Behind this incredible movie that TWC and Walden are so proud of is one of the most beloved books of our time. Joining forces with the NEA’s fantastic Read Across America initiative is a perfect opportunity to support the cause for literacy behind the powerful name of The Giver.”

To help support please visit: www.Walden.com/TicketToABetterWorld

About Walden Media:
Walden Media creates entertainment for the whole family through successful movies, award-winning books, and acclaimed television programs. A Walden Media production celebrates a great book well told, a great life well lived, or an exploration that expands present possibilities – all while inspiring and entertaining its audience. Past award-winning films include: “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, the “Journey to the Center of the Earth” series, “Nim’s Island,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Holes,” “Amazing Grace,” and the Sundance Audience Prize Winning documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman.”

Walden Media recently released “The Giver” - a feature co-production with The Weinstein Company, which opened in theaters nationwide on August 15th. The highly anticipated adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel stars Meryl Streep, Jeff BridgesBrenton Thwaites, Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush and Taylor Swift.

Walden is also producing Universal Pictures’ dramatic adventure/thriller “Everest” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Emily Watson and Robin Wright. Walden is producing with Universal, Working Title and Cross Creek Pictures.

For more information please visit www.Walden.com

About The Weinstein Company:
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as SCREAM, SPY KIDS and SCARY MOVIE. Together TWC and Dimension Films have released a broad range of mainstream, genre and specialty films that have been commercial and critical successes. During Harvey and Bob's tenure at Miramax and TWC, they have received 348 Oscar nominations and won 82 Academy Awards.

About NEA’s Read Across America:
The National Education Association is building a diverse nation of readers through its signature program, NEA’s Read Across America. Now in its 19th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers. 

A Grand Design by Amber Stockton - REVIEWED

A getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past.
When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.
As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

My Thoughts:
Life’s a grand adventure, and we’re all just along for the ride.”  (p. 176)

Alyssa Denham’s  life is anything but an adventure when you first meet her in the opening scenes of Amber Stockton’s novel  A Grand Design.  Hard-working and alone, she watches as, one by one, her friends marry and begin their lives with their beloved.  Then, there is a sudden change – a gift of a trip for two to Makinac island – and island she hasn’t visited since she was a young girl.  The island home of her grandmother.
Alyssa does something a bit out of character and makes a sudden decisive move toward this two-week island adventure, and she invites her best friend Libby along.  Libby is a bit of a guy magnet, but that doesn’t deter Alyssa.  She just wants to explore her misplaced relationship with her grandmother and get away from her very unadventuresome,  single life.

Alyssa’s grandmother creates a very unusual challenge for the two best friends, and she sends them around the island collecting pieces of her own past – never dreaming of all the things that would be healed and restored in her life and the life of her granddaughter.  Alyssa’s  life takes a transformational path during her two-week island stay that sets her upon the adventure of a life time!  Family, friends and a solid plot are tools Amber Stockton uses to create a touching and memorable tale that will leave your heart sighing in contentment! 

Another stellar addition to the Quilts of Love series!

About the Author:
Amber Stockton is an award‑winning author, a national speaker, and a direct‑sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards. Find out why readers love her by visiting her website AmberStockton.com.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Christina Paul is on a Mission with New Album

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- Christina Paul is back with the release of her sophomore English-language album, Lord of All, available now via Intercessor Records. While Christina may be a “new artist” to Christian music fans in North America, Christians in India have long admired her soul-stirring performances and inspiring testimony. After nine albums, numerous national television appearances and hundreds of concert dates around the world, the award-winning artist once again has American audiences in her sights.

Christina wrote every song on the album, which was produced in Nashville by Grammy-winning producer, Phil Naish (Steven Curtis Chapman, Point of Grace, Jaci Valesquez). Lord of All is a collection of heart-gripping songs that reflect her unshakeable faith, her undeniable heart for missions and oneness in the relationship with her Heavenly Father.

Lord of All represents diverse musical styles — from soaring ballads to praise and worship songs and even R&B. The album speaks to the hearts of listeners, motivating them to be one with God, to completely rely on Him, to have compassion toward others and to be His hands and feet and make a difference in the world.

The album’s first single, the title track “Lord of All,” is a soulful worship song, beautifully crafted with a magnificent string arrangement by Kristin Wilkinson. Christina pours out her heartfelt gratitude and praise to the Sovereign and Omnipotent God, yet still gentle with His strong love and overflowing grace and mercy surrounding and sustaining her life.

The second single, "I Can See Now,” reflects Christina's heart for missions. "God has definitely made my heart grow in compassion,” she says. “I feel compelled in my spirit to pray for others and be there for people who are hurting, to cry with them and make a difference in their lives in any way I can."

Christina has put her faith into action, co-founding the missions organization, Christ For All Ministries, with her husband Paul Jeyasingh. "God has filled my heart with compassion for hurting people, those who do not know Christ,” she says. “My mission is to support and to build an army for Jesus, working to win souls for His Kingdom. By God's grace, we have the right people supporting us and we have sixteen full-time missionaries working in northern parts of India where it is still dark and the light of Jesus needs to be shown! The Harvest is plenty but the laborers are few!”

Born in India, Christina traveled throughout the country from a very young age with her parents who were Christian recording artists. It wasn't long before Christina began joining them on stage. As is the custom in India, she met the love of her life through an arranged marriage, and later relocated to the U.S. with her husband and young daughter. These days, she balances her music and ministry endeavors with her greatest calling—as a wife, and mother of two kids, Joanne and Matthew. She also serves as one of the praise and worship leaders at her home church, Victory in Lakeland, Florida.

Christina will hit the road this fall, telling her story and sharing her faith throughout North America. In support of the new album, Christina will embark on a national promotional tour consisting of radio and retail visits, and appearances on numerous television programs nationwide. In the past, Christina has been featured on 100 Huntley Street, Daystar Television Network, The Harvest Show, Atlanta Live, Spirit of Arkansas, Deeper Living, The Good Life and many more, in addition to coverage from Women of Faith and Christianity Today. 

For more information, visit the official website at www.christinapaul.com.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Miracle in a Dry Season
Bethany House Publishers (August 5, 2014)
Sarah Loudin Thomas


Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, releases August 2014 through Bethany House. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.

A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.


In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud

That Brings Hope

It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor. . .until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

My Thoughts:
All too often sorrow and joy come skipping into your life holding hands.”  (p. 201)

It has been quite some time since I have wept over a great piece of fiction, but Miracle in a Dry Season caused me to both weep and laugh out loud.  This is a very special story told with such poignant  and lyrical phrases that you will find yourself re-reading passages out loud just to hear the beauty of the words.  I’m telling you as honestly as I know how that this book is powerful!

Perla Long and Casewell Phillps are just everyday Christian folks trying to make their way through the judgment of others and their own self-condemnation.  When Casewell tells Perla that there is nothing new under the sun, he was speaking  truth that shouts to the masses even today!  As believer’s we tend to be in a constant learning curve when it comes to forgiving other – and ourselves.  Casewell walks through a valley with his dad that prepares him to take a step forward in his own life.  It is Casewell’s spiritual growth that encourages Perla to let go of some excess baggage in her life and take a giant leap forward for herself and her precious daughter.

This is a tender story of grace that will take you on a journey toward forgiveness and freedom that I daresay you probably don’t recognize you have a need to receive until it’s plainly laid before you.  Sarah Loudin Thomas is a gifted writer who knows the heart of her Heavenly Father. She pours out grace like a refreshing stream in a dessert!!  Don’t waste one minute!! Pick up your copy of this excellent book today!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Miracle in a Dry Season, go HERE.

Monday, August 25, 2014

God In Every Season by Debra Black - REVIEWED

While her name may be new to many Christian music fans, singer-songwriter Debra Black is sure to catch the attention of listeners from coast to coast with the release of her debut album, God In Every Season. Produced by Josh Williams, the album is available today wherever digital music is sold, including iTunes and Amazon.

The theme behind God In Every Season came to Black at an unexpected moment when the Lord began to show her a deeper meaning of the seasons and how there is a time and purpose for everything under heaven, as Ecclesiastes 3 states. This summoned imagery of the seasons that stuck with her. It was an endless cycle, and as the vision continued she realized that God had created an identical cycle for everything living. 

Black says, “What I love about the cycle of the seasons is just that. It is a cycle. Life is a cycle. God knows just how much of the fall we can stand before He brings the winter to give us rest. He knows just how much rest we need before we are ready for something new, and then he brings the life. He knows just how much heat we can stand and sun we can see before it is time for that thing to die or lay to rest.”

Based in Atlanta, Black had already been singing and leading worship for more than a decade when she started working on her music. She founded and pioneered Worship on the Square, a non-profit organization bringing the church body together in city centers to worship God and bring awareness to social causes. Unique, relatable, and possessed of unshakeable faith, Black inspires listeners to take refuge and find trust in God. 

“The journey leading up to this release has far surpassed any greater thing I have experienced on a personal level with the Lord,” says Black. “He has brought me to this place of surrendering my all to Him and I’m ready to see what He does. He has been an integral part of showing me that Jesus is enough, for my every need. Realizing His plans are far greater than anything I could dream of or ask. He has shown me that there is a time and season for everything under heaven; that His desire is to make everything beautiful in time. There truly is beauty in everything, even the pain, even in the suffering. There is beauty in the breakdown, in the death, in the resting/renewal times, and of course in the growing time. Every season under heaven has a particular plan by Our God to make us more like Him, if we let Him. He is why I live, and why I know love. I’m ready for this adventure and can’t wait to see what this next season holds.” 

The album’s debut single, “Be Free,” was released this month to radio stations through Nashville-based promotion firm, Shamrock Media Group. In support of the single and album, Black will head into the fall with heavy touring and an upcoming media tour.

For more information, visit the official website at www.debrablackmusic.com

My Thoughts:
WOW!! Debra Black was a new name to me, but no longer!!  God In Every Season will usher you into God's presence in a mighty way, and I am thrilled to be able to share the news of this album with you!  From the upbeat, encouraging song Be Free, to the confident statement of belief in God In Every Season to the majestic, worshipful praise found in More Than Enough...you will PRAISE THE LORD!!  It is my fervent prayer that the airwaves will be flooded with songs from this album!  It is a message of hope and encouragement that is sorely needed today and every day!  God has surely anointed Debra's music, and I am happy to recommend God In Every Season to every believer!!  What a great album!!